Written By: Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher
Art By: Babs Tarr & Rob Haynes (Breakdowns)
Color Art By: Serge Lapointe & Lee Loughridge
If you follow comic news at all, the big new story is the DC relaunch and possibly reboot that’s coming this summer. For a lot of readers, the change is welcomed (without going into just how close it’ll be to the cinematic universe), as the DC line has lost some of it’s luster since the hopeful New 52 reboot in 2011. However, one of the, if not the biggest, breakout hits of the more recent DC line is Batgirl. While I could tell the story wasn’t necessarily for me, I wanted to check it out before this summer possibly brings it to an end, as I can still respect the craft, even if it subjectively is not in my wheelhouse.
The first thing I will say about this issue, and this series in general; you get your money’s worth, especially with this book being one of the few still priced at $2.99. Each page is densely worded, but in no way do I ever feel bogged down from the text. Fletcher and Stewart pace this story really well, giving us a lot of character building and conversation and having almost no fluff. You can tell that this world is incredibly solid, and as other DC characters pop in, like Black Canary (featured on the cover of this issue) they always end up fitting very well in the life of Barbara Gordon. Not to go too heavily into a summary, Barbara is seemingly losing grasp on her memory, which is suppose to be photographic. As the issue progresses, Batgirl finds out the source (which we knew from previous issues). What really made this stand out from other comics of the same train of thought, while social media and technology is heavily involved in the story, it doesn’t feel like the writers trying to insert it and not have a total grasp of it. These college age students are pretty spot on to what people of their age actually are. This will make me sound old (even though all these characters are my age) but this book is what an older generation would call hip. It’s clear why Barbara is so easy to connect with. That said, this type of story isn’t something I would personally go out of my way to pick up, and there might be something to be said about that. I can respect the craft that’s put into the story, there’s nothing out of place, nothing seems incorrect or jarring, but the subject doesn’t personally interest me, even though the audience for this is clear and there’s no surprise that it’s well loved.
All that said about the story, the art could not be a better fit. Babs Tarr really is flexing her cartooning muscles on this book. Each face is very expressive, the lines are clean, and the book just feels very Manga inspired. While the cartooning is really strong in the quieter moments, the action doesn’t skip a beat, and the panel to panel pacing in the action and fight sequences is clear and unique, especially in DC. The Color Art also works really well here, and the transition between the two artists was seamless. The biggest takeaway for me was how different this is from the DC “house” style, which is really angular and not terribly consistent. This is always clear, always expressive, unique, and just very fun.
While this isn’t my cup of tea, I would be flat out wrong to ignore the solid craft and skill in this book. I would recommend at least giving this a look; chances are, if this kind of world is your thing, you will love this book. Also, chances are you are already reading this book.
4 Forgotten Memories out of 5